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Wind Instruments Tuition

at Waltons New School of Music

‘Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.’
– Charlie Parker

‘I do not consider myself as having mastered the flute, but I get a real kick out of trying.’
– James Galway

Tuition Offered

The New School offers tuition for beginner, intermediate and advanced students in:

  • Clarinet
  • Concert Flute
  • Irish Traditional (Wooden) Flute
  • Piccolo
  • Recorder
  • Saxophone (Alto & Tenor)

Clarinet and saxophone instruction can include jazz theory and improvisation. Students of wind instruments at the New School can also be prepared for a range of grade exams, from preliminary to performance or teaching diploma level, as well as Junior Cert. Music and Leaving Cert. Music practicals, and instrumental study at the school counts as the ‘personal skill’ challenge area for Gaisce – The President’s Award.

Our options for wind instrument tuition include:

  • Weekly private (one-to-one) lessons, 30, 45 or 60 minutes in length.
  • Small group lessons, designed for students at the same level of proficiency who enrol together, and available as 30- 45- or 60-minute ‘partner’ lessons, as well as 60-minute lessons for 3 or 4 students.
  • Single 1-hour Intensive Lessons.

See Tuition Options for more information on private, partner and small group lessons, and Enrolment • Fees for tuition fees and enrolment forms.

Beginners should also consider taking Music Fundamentals, designed to supplement private tuition with the basics of music theory.

Our Jazz Blues Ensemble Workshop is an excellent introduction to blues and jazz ensemble playing and improvisation for those new to the forms.

Introducing Music Technology is a practical, hands-on course designed to teach absolute beginners how a PC and inexpensive home studio technology can be used to record and produce virtually anything at home.

Our Flute Ensemble is open to students of Grade III standard and above and works on a wide range of repertoire in a variety of styles. It is also an opportunity to meet other players and make some great music!

Our two Jazz Ensembles introduce students of all instruments to the art of improvisation through the study and performance of blues and jazz.

We also run monthly Trad Slow Sessions, open to both New School and external students/players, once a month on Friday evenings in the school.

Enrolment for wind instruments tuition at Waltons New School of Music requires a completed enrolment form and, except for those students using payment plans, full payment of tuition fees.

Intensive Lesson booking requires a completed booking form and deposit.


Private, Partner and Small Group Lessons • Ensembles

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Group Courses for Beginners

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Intensive Lessons

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Gift Certificates

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Have you studied – or are you studying – a wind instrument at the New School? We would appreciate it if you could take a few moments to give us your feedback in a brief online questionnaire about your experience here.


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Other Information

Martin A. Walton Memorial Scholarships

Taking place in late May / early June each year, the New School’s annual Martin A. Walton Memorial Scholarship Competition awards full-year tuition scholarships in three categories:

  • Young Student of the Year (students aged 18 and under)
  • Mature Student of the Year (students aged 19 and over)
  • Most Promising Beginner (students who came to the school as beginners on their instruments)

New School Ensemble Prize

This prize is awarded for the best performance in our scholarship competition by an instrumental, vocal or mixed ensemble made up of two or more students, as well as for progress over the previous school year.

See Scholarships • Prizes for more information.

Friday Casual Concerts

Our Friday Casual Concerts are a great opportunity for students to perform in public, in a relaxed and supportive setting, before friends, family and other students. These brief concerts take place once a month on Friday evenings at 7 pm in the school and allow individual students and ensembles to show off their skills and learn how to cope with nerves. They are also highly recommended for students preparing for grade exams.

End-of-Year Concert

Our End-of-Year Student Concert takes place in the National Concert Hall’s John Field Room each June and showcases some of our best students and ensembles, of all ages and in all music genres, as well as scholarship and prize winners in our Scholarship Competition. Performers are selected by their teachers and the school administration.

See School Concerts for more information.

Currently-enrolled students (and parents of students) are entitled to several useful benefits, including:

  • Discounts on Waltons World Masters Series Events
  • Discounts from Waltons Music
  • Discounts on Ensembles, Sessions and Music Theory Courses
  • Discounts on Practice Facilities
  • Discounts on City-Centre Parking

See Student Benefits for more information.

Wind Instrument Tuition FAQs

What is the wind (or woodwind) family?

The wind or woodwind family of instruments includes flutes, clarinets, saxophones, oboes, bassoons and recorders, as well as harmonicas, uilleann pipes and bagpipes. Contrary to what the name suggests, all woodwinds are not constructed of wood. For example, concert flutes are usually made out of nickel, plated with silver, and saxophones are usually made from brass. Although, clarinets, oboes, traditional flutes and recorders can be made from wood, they are also often made of ABS plastic. What differentiates a wind instrument from other ‘blown’ instruments – such as ‘ brass instruments’, for example – is how the musician makes the sound. When air flows into the mouthpiece, a sound is created inside a resonator and a column of air vibrates. The volume, pitch and tone of the instrument change as the fingers open/close the holes or press a key.

Which instrument should I choose for myself / my child?

The most important considerations in choosing an instrument are simple ones: Do you / does your child like the sound of it? Are you / is your child excited about learning it? Genuine interest is the key ingredient, but there are other factors that you should take into consideration, including age (see below), the style(s) of music you/your child likes best, etc.

What genres/styles of music are the different wind instruments most suitable for?

The recorder is really best for classical or folk music. Saxophones are flexible instruments can be used for classical, rock/pop, blues, funk and jazz. The clarinet is best for classical and jazz. The flute is most often heard in classical music, though you will hear it in plenty of jazz and rock music. And the harmonica is most often heard in blues, folk, jazz and Irish traditional music.

At what age should wind instrument tuition begin?

While there is no definitive ‘starting’ age for any instrument, the most important consideration is whether or not a child is physically capable of playing the instrument. Recorder can be started as soon as a child’s fingers are big enough to cover the holes. Other wind instruments should not be started until the child’s second set of teeth are through, because pressure is put on the teeth when they are played. A child also needs to be big enough to hold and blow these instruments. Strong lips and good ‘puff’ are essential. Wind instruments do not normally come in smaller sized equivalents. Where there are smaller sizes (such as the piccolo or soprano saxophone) they are advanced, specialist instruments which play at a higher pitch. For this reason, it is recommended that children begin study of wind instruments (except recorder) after the age of 10 or so.

Once your child has settled on an instrument to play, it is important that they not hop around from instrument to instrument. A child should give an instrument at least one year before deciding to try something else.

Can an adult learn to play a wind instrument?

Yes! Results will not come overnight, and, in fact, the learning process will likely take years to complete. Nevertheless, we must remember that those years will pass by anyways, and being older is not a reason to refuse to undertake it. There is a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction to be had in learning a musical instrument. The New School has adult beginners of all ages learning wind instruments.

What should I look for when purchasing a wind instrument?

One of the most critical factors in your / your child’s success is the instrument’s quality. Low-quality instruments won’t hold up well or as long. But because musical instruments can also get prohibitively expensive, the key is to look for a good quality beginner or ‘student’ instrument rather than a professional one. Because wood is prone to chipping, steer clear of instruments made of wood, at least initially.

What are your teaching methods?

Our teachers generally use a ‘traditional’ approach, which means they generally incorporate note-reading, musicianship, and technique (instrument-specific skills) into each lesson. They bring a lot of experience and a range of techniques to bear in their lessons, and their teaching methods are not set in stone. We believe that each student learns best when approached as having unique strengths, weaknesses and learning styles, and each lesson is tailored to the individual student.

Can you prepare me / my child for grade or practical examinations?

Tuition can certainly include preparation for grade examinations with a range of exam boards. Our teachers can also prepare you for Junior Cert. Music and Leaving Cert. Music practical exams.

How should I care for my / my child’s instrument?

Here are some essentials to remember:

  • Keep it dry and clean. Always clean out moisture from each section of the instrument following every use. Also, using a non-treated cloth, wipe down the exterior of the instrument to remove any residue and fingerprints.
  • Store it in a controlled environment. Extreme fluctuations in temperature can cause damage to any instrument. And wood, in particular, expands and contracts with temperature changes, which can cause cracks in its structure.
  • Never put an object on top of the instrument. Brass and nickel instruments can bend, so be mindful of where you place them and what you place on top of them.
  • A few months after the instrument is set up and broken in, bring it back in for a check-up, as it is normal for the materials to come out of adjustment during this time. This type of adjustment should ideally take place every twelve to eighteen months. Or, if the instrument is played often, schedule more regular adjustments.
  • We suggest that you also schedule a regular, professional cleaning. Once a year (enter it into your calendar as a reminder), take the instrument to a professional repair technician for cleaning and maintenance. Doing this may prevent future costly repairs. Also, many wind instruments have pads, which provide a perfect seal in order to create the proper note. These pads will need to be replaced once every eight to ten years – a job that requires dismantling the instrument, cleaning it, refitting and tightening the loose parts as well as replacing springs and corks, if required.

What is the purpose of practising scales?

Scales help build finger and hand dexterity by giving you something to play that you can work on without being slowed down by reading. They also teach you what notes are found in each key, which makes reading music go more smoothly as you’ll cease having to read each note one at a time and start to see patterns within the key.

How can I develop good sight reading skills??

Sight reading is learned by doing, and it takes practice! Being a good sight reader requires a combination of two elements:

  • Learning as much music theory, music history and related subjects as possible.
  • Practical experience in sight reading. This is acquired by joining as many formal or informal groups as one can locate, and also regularly attending to new music in the home practice.

Here are three things to keep in mind:

  • At the beginning of every piece of music, there are three areas to examine initially: the clef signs, the key signature and the time signature.
  • One should also have some general idea about the style period.
  • Glance through the piece if you have time and look at the form and chord structures. Determine, at a minimum, whether it is in a major or minor key, and note any development or recapitulation materials.
Wind Instruments
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